I'm sore and I'm tired. I barely got any sleep last night. But I also attended a concert last night, and the internet needs to know what I thought about it. So I will push on and write up a blog post for all you lovely readers out there. I was even right up against the stage for the entire show so I got a view of it all.
As I'm sure you know, Hour of Penance dropped off this tour at the last minute because of visa issues. I was definitely looking forward to seeing them but perhaps there would have been too many blast beats if they showed up. Anyway, they were replaced by the unknown Black Crown Initiate hailing all the way from USA. When I tried to look this band up, I found that the only thing they've released is a single EP. And that's exactly what they played. They started with a song from their upcoming album and then went straight into the entirety of their backlog.
Black Crown Initiate's music was alright to say the least. A little too many breakdowns for my taste. However, both the vocalist and guitarist had amazing vocals. The main vocalist had powerful screams and the guitarist had the best clean vocals of any band that played. Why was he so good?! The music itself didn't do much to hype up the crowd, It was good once it got rolling, with some blast beats thrown here and there, but too often everything would recede to acoustic set pieces. It also didn't help that they were playing to maybe 50 people. The venue filled out a bit as the night went on, but it was barren compared to how it usually is. I also didn't snap a single picture of this band so look them up if you want to see what they look like.
Luckily for Toronto's own Necronomicon, the lineup change meant they got to go on second instead of first. Not sure if this got them a longer set, but at least they were playing for half an audience. All three of them came out and put on a solid show. They didn't move around stage too much but every time the guitarist/vocalist stepped away from the mic, him and the bassist started a coordinated headbang in the center of the stage. The vocals were also very powerful for some reason. Besides some technical hiccups with a guitar cable not working, the majority of their set sounded the same. Every single song had blastbeats and that doesn't always translate the best into a live setting. Even the one song of theirs that I always recognize when I hear it blended into the rest of the noise and became much less recognizable. Everything was good, but it just all sounded the same.
Then came the half hour-long breaks in between bands in order to set everything up. Luckily, Fleshgod Apocalypse brought along a piano and opera singer again to add to their show. Also luckily, their sound was definitely better than the last time I saw them, though it wasn't without its issues. Since there were sounds from so many different places, some things had to get drowned out in the mix. I could clearly hear the drums, vocals and sometimes the guitar, but all the symphonic elements (especially the opera singer) got put into the background. It's unfortunate that not everyone got their time to shine but the only way I can see around this problem is to constantly switch the sound mixing to focus on whatever is prevalent in the song. It's possible, though probably too much work for someone to do every single night of the tour. The band played a wide variety of songs covering all of their albums. The Violation is still undoubtedly their best live song, the crowd just freaked out when it started to play. The vocalist also came out in between songs with some prop, from a book to a glass of wine, to tell some story and introduce the next song. I couldn't hear a word he said, but a guy behind me kept shouting out every song they were about to play without fail. Either he has really good ears or he looked up the setlist beforehand.
I was really looking forward to seeing Septicflesh when it was time for them to come out. Since I was learning against the stage the whole time, I still had tons of energy. And since there weren't too many people there, I wasn't sweating too much and therefore wasn't dehydrated. Septicflesh came out to a roaring audience and oh boy did they deliver! This time, the three sounds I could actually make out were the drums, vocals and orchestrations. It worked out really well because the guitar work isn't usually the main focus in their songs. And it was a nice treat being able to hear the symphonic elements for once. I was also happy to discover that my favourite Septicflesh songs are also everyone else's. In total they played two songs that I didn't recognize; one was Unbeliever and I'm not sure the title of the other. They played everything I could have asked them to play, starting from The Vampire From Nazareth and moving their way around the most recent three albums. The only song they didn't play was Sangreal. Possibly because their normal bald guitarist (who also does the clean vocals) wasn't there and that song has a big focus on cleans. Either way, all the songs sounded great and I headbanged my face off. It always feels good to say that the headliner was the best of the show. The only complaint I have is that the band didn't move around the stage too much. They went behind the stage displays for the start of each song, but that was about it. At least they came out with their costumes. The vocalist's fly was undone though.
All in all this was a good concert. All the bands put on a solid show. The only consistent problem was the sound mixing, but that seems to be a consistent problem at just about every concert. I'm not sure why so few people showed up but they definitely missed out. I wish the bands luck on the rest of the tour and I'll probably see them the next time they come back.